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Irvine Valley College Social Media Guidelines

Purpose  

Irvine Valley College's social media presence is intended to provide the IVC community with a forum to share thoughts, ideas and experiences through discussions, postings, photos and videos on online networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.

Blogs, social networks and interactive Web sites are exciting new channels for you to share knowledge, express your creativity and connect with others who share your interests. Irvine Valley College supports your participation in these online venues.

Because social media channels are fairly new to many in our community, we've assembled "best practice" guidelines from respected online and industry sources to help you use these forums effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation and to follow college and district policies.

These guidelines are frequently updated as social media evolves. If you have suggestions, please contact Diane Oaks, Director of Marketing, Communications and Broadcast Services at doaks@ivc.edu.

General Recommendations

The keys to success in social media are: 1.) being honest about who you are; 2.) being thoughtful before you post; and 3.) respecting the purpose of the community where you are posting.

Be transparent. Be honest about your identity. If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent IVC in social media, say so. If you choose to post about IVC on your personal time, please identify yourself as an Irvine Valley College faculty or staff member. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting or complaining about IVC through social media.

In December 2009, the Federal Trade Commission implemented regulations requiring bloggers and those who write online reviews to reveal if they have been compensated in any way—a free copy of a book, dinner, complimentary admission—or have a relationship to a company, product or service they review. Already a "best practice" for most bloggers, such disclosure is now being enforced.

A good resource about online transparency is the "Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit" at http://blogcouncil.org/disclosure.

Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It's better to verify information with a source first, than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible; after all, that's how you build community. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful. You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or a person.

Be a valued member. If you join a social network like Facebook or comment on someone's blog, make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Don't post information about IVC events or a book you've authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead you to be banned from websites or groups.

Consider your audiences. Social media often span traditional boundaries between professional and personal relationships. Use privacy settings to restrict personal information on otherwise public sites. Choose profile photos and avatars carefully. Be thoughtful about the type of photos you upload.

Think before you post. There's no such thing as a "private" social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it's wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.

Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about IVC, its students, its alumni or fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow college policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.

If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified. As a guideline, don't post anything that you would not present at a conference.

Respect copyright and fair use. When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the college. Photography posted on social media sites can easily be appropriated by site visitors and/or members. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800x600 resolution to protect your intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing.

Respect college time and money. As stated in Administrative Regulation 4000.2, if you are faculty or staff, college computers and your work time are to be used for college related business. It's appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem. You should maintain your personal sites on your own time using non-IVC computers.

Protect your privacy. Your comments are visible to all. Never include your phone number, email address or other personal information in a post. If you want individual follow-up, send a message through the site to a page administrator.

Link back. You are welcome to link from your social media site to www.ivc.edu. However, IVC is not responsible for the content of any website, blog or social media site outside of the ivc.edu domain. The inclusion of any non-IVC link, whether by an IVC employee or anyone posting on the linked site, does not imply endorsement by IVC of that site.

Your commitment. By posting any comments, links or other material on IVC-sponsored web or social media sites, you give Irvine Valley College (IVC) the irrevocable right to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works from, and otherwise use your submission for any purpose in any form and on any media. You also agree that you will not:

  • Post material that infringes on the right of any third party, including intellectual property, privacy or publicity rights.
  • Post material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, hateful, or embarrassing to any other person or entity as determined by IVC in its sole discretion.
  • Post ads or solicitations of business.
  • Post the same note more than once ("spam").
  • Post chain letters or pyramid schemes.
  • Impersonate another person.
  • Allow any other person or entity to use your identification for posting or viewing comments.

If you have any questions about your social media user rights, please send a message to Diane Oaks, Director of Marketing, Communications and Broadcast Services at doaks@ivc.edu.

If You Post On Behalf of Irvine Valley College

Have a plan. Departments and programs should consider their messages, audiences and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. Specific persons should be designated as site administrators.

Be transparent. If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the college or your department, clearly state your role and goals. Discuss with your supervisor when you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval.

Be connected. If you have been authorized by your supervisor to create an official Irvine Valley College social media site or a video for posting to locations such as YouTube, please contact the Director of Marketing, Communications and Broadcast Services, doaks@ivc.edu , for approved images and to ensure coordination with other IVC sites and content.

Be respectful. As an Irvine Valley College employee or student, you understand the college's commitment to respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Your reputation, and IVC's, are best served when you remain above the fray.

Be thoughtful. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as an IVC student or employee, ask your supervisor before you post. Remember that district and college policies such as FERPA, Board Policy 4000.2 and IVC Administrative Regulation 4000.2 apply to social media too.

Know the rules. Become familiar with the terms of service and the policies of sites and networks in which you participate. Pay attention to updates. If the legal language is hard to follow, follow a respected blogger or two who discuss service changes in their posts.

Don't cyberslack. Endless amounts of time can be spent, and wasted, on social media sites. Limit the amount of time you spend attending to your department's social media presence to what is needed to post content, evaluate traffic data, review related sites and monitor comments. Limit your personal use of these sites while at work as directed by your department's guidelines.

Keep your personal posts separate. Uphold the college's mission and values in your social media activities. Don't include political comments or comments on social issues, except in support of positions IVC has already taken. This includes changes to your photo or avatar in relation to political or social issues.

Personal Site Guidelines

Be authentic. Be honest about your identity. In personal posts you may identify yourself as Irvine Valley College faculty, staff or student. However, please be clear that you are sharing your views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of IVC. This parallels media relations practices at IVC.

A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer on their site, usually on their "About Me" page. If you discuss higher education on your own social media site, we suggest you include a sentence similar to this: "The views expressed on this [blog, website, etc.] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Irvine Valley College." This is particularly important if you are a department head or administrator.

Don't be a mole. Never pretend to be someone else and post about IVC. Tracking tools enable supposedly anonymous posts to be traced back to their authors. There have been several high-profile and embarrassing cases of company executives anonymously posting about their own organizations.

Take the high ground. If you identify your affiliation with IVC in your comments, readers will associate you with the college, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own. Remember that you're most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly.

Be aware of liability. You are legally liable for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts). Employers are increasingly conducting Web searches on job candidates before extending offers. Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you.

Don't use the IVC seal or make endorsements. Do not use the IVC seal, athletic logo or any other IVC marks or images. Do not use IVC's name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

Protect your identity. While you want to be honest about yourself, don't provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you. Don't list your home address or telephone number or your work telephone or email address. It is a good idea to create a separate email address that is used only with your social media site.

Follow a code of ethics. There are numerous codes of ethics for bloggers and other active participants in social media, all of which will help you participate responsibly in online communities. If you have your own social media site, you may wish to post your own code of ethics.

Monitor comments. Most people who maintain social media sites welcome comments—it builds credibility and community. However, you can set your site so that you can review and approve comments before they appear. This allows you to respond in a timely way to comments. It also allows you to delete spam comments and to block any individuals who repeatedly post offensive or frivolous comments.

Community Guidelines

We welcome your questions, comments and concerns. Our goal is to provide a community where friends of IVC can share content, ideas and experiences and find helpful information. To keep our social media sites fun and lively, we ask that you respect the rules of the social media site you are accessing (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) as well as our rules below. We reserve the right to remove posts that don't comply.

Be respectful. If you know IVC, you know that the college is committed to respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. It's ok to voice a complaint or disagree with another post, but please do so in a polite and constructive manner. Obscenities, personal attacks and defamatory comments about any person, group, organization or belief will be removed.

Be accurate. Please know your facts before you post. We will correct or remove factual errors.

Focus on IVC, don't spam. Please keep your posts relevant to IVC and its students, faculty, staff and alumni. Don't use this site to promote businesses, causes or political candidates. If you're part of the IVC community, it's ok to post a link to your IVC-based group, or to invite community members to vote for you in an online contest—as long as you don't do it every week. Excessive posts will be removed.

Most posts by non-IVC organizations will be deleted. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Discounts offered to IVC students, alumni or employees (see next section)
  • Promotions for non-IVC events
  • Rental housing ads
  • Promotions by non-IVC organizations, including political, religious and activist groups

Post in the right spot. IVC sponsors several social media sites. To make sure your post is a good fit check out the "Connect With IVC" social media portal page. Make sure that your post is appropriate for the site you are posting to.

Protect your privacy. Your comments are visible to all. Never include your phone number, email address or other personal information in a post. If you want individual follow-up, send a message through the site to a page administrator. IVC is not responsible for the content of any website outside of the deductive domain. The inclusion of any non-IVC link, whether by an Irvine Valley College employee or anyone posting on the site, does not imply endorsement by IVC of that website, blog, social media page, etc.

Posts by page administrators will appear next to the official page icon. Any other comments on the site do not necessarily reflect the opinions and positions of Irvine Valley College. You are legally responsible for the comments you post.

Your commitment. By posting any comments, links or other material on IVC-sponsored websites or social media pages, you give Irvine Valley College ("IVC") the irrevocable right to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works from and otherwise use your submission for any purpose in any form and on any media. You also agree that you will not:

  • Post material that infringes on the rights of any third party, including intellectual property, privacy or publicity rights.
  • Post material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, hateful or embarrassing to any other person or entity as determined by Irvine Valley College in its sole discretion.
  • Post ads or solicitations of business.
  • Post the same note more than once ("spam").
  • Post chain letters or pyramid schemes.
  • Impersonate another person.
  • Allow any other person or entity to use your identification for posting or viewing comments.

Use of Photography on Irvine Valley College Social Media Sites

Irvine Valley College has a blanket photo release policy which states "Irvine Valley College, a non-profit California Community College, reserves the right to take and use photographs, video and electronic images of students and visitors taken on college property and at college-sponsored events for marketing and promotional purposes."

While this simplifies record keeping and allows for more photographic flexibility, certain instances still require a photo/video release. These situations include, but are not limited to, students under eighteen years of age and subjects used in a high-visibility location of a marketing piece (front covers, brochures, banners, billboards, etc.). If in doubt, get a signed photo release. Blank photo release forms may be ordered from David Kite in the Irvine Valley College Marketing Office at dkite@ivc.edu. Please keep signed photo release forms on file in your departmental office.

If you have any questions about these IVC social media guidelines, please send a message to Diane Oaks, Director of Marketing, Communications and Broadcast Services, at doaks@ivc.edu.

© 2014 Irvine Valley College